The nude has enjoyed something of a revival in the art world: Lucian Freud and Jenny Saville have famously depicted the naked body as a grotesque and vulnerable form. But what is the role of the “nude” in poetry? Can poetic enterprise appropriate a visual tradition and extend it beyond the mimetic constraints of ekphrasis? Sara Mumolo’s nudes address these questions directly. The nude is no longer an object to be copied but rather an idea generating personal, political and social associations. In “Third Nude,” for instance, Mumolo stages a variety of “interruptions” combining discourses diverse as motherhood, data entry, and Chaucer. Qualities once considered essential to the body are different robes to be stripped off and worn as dictated by the discursive context. Nakedness becomes an unspoken but formative motif. The Sphinx loses her riddle; bodies are disinterred. In the body’s nakedness lies its potential for different forms; these forms are also—always—constraints. Mumolo has given us Lacan’s paradox, but with poetic clarity: the more we embody, the more we alienate.
We here at The Offending Adam consider ourselves so lucky both to be a part of the literary community in our various ways, as well as to have so many loyal readers come here to make this journal a vibrant space for literature. We now invite you to browse nine books that have impressed or excited us, in the hopes that some of them might find a home either with your friends and loved ones or, also, on your own book shelf.